Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Big AK

As of July 27th, we made it to my parents house in North Pole. We stopped just outside Tok, AK the night before, after an 8 hr drive. Tok is about 4 1/2-5hrs to our destination(from Moon Lake we made it in 2hrs!). At first we were talking about just making the drive to finish, but as soon as Dad told us to stop for the night we couldn't resist. We stayed at Moon Lake SP for our first night in Alaska. Trevor mentioned how we started our camping-cross-country tour with rain and ended it in rain also. How fitting. We know now rain's not going to stop us from having a fire!

I won't be posting any pictures here, but will post some links of the places we camped/rv'd(whatever). There's just too many pictures right now, and looking through them makes me dizzy having to go back and forth to the calendar and remember what was know, I'm just lazy and want to type for now :P. I'm thinking Power point would be a good program to use for a slide show. On to that later. For now, put your Imagination Caps back on as I brief you(well, this is going to be a long post, so spare about 10 minutes) on our tour through Canada and add a couple of others things I had forgotten:

July 23, 2011

In the last post I failed to talk about our ride up I-5N. Because it felt like a long and arduous battle to get through Tacoma and Seattle, I had completely blocked it out by our excitement of crossing international lines. While Trevor navigated through what felt like a cattle herd of speeding cars, I was able to log-on for a brief moment on facebook. Trevor wondered if Washington was actually a state or just one big city. Not living in Seattle or Tacoma, it just felt wrong that there were so many people in the limited interstate space provided. Trevor described it as Tacoma being the spill over for Seattle, but not having the infrastructure for traffic..period..they just built the damn interstate without any real planning! At any rate, we made it out unscathed and everything died down once we reached Bellingham.

We took the exit to Chuckanut Drive(hehe) and stayed at Larrabee State Park just before the window closed at 7:30p. With it being so close to the weekend, and summer still, there were already family’s with droves of children running around. I still don’t understand why kids congregate around the restrooms. I think they just like to hear their voices echo as they shriek around the facilities. Despite the kids, Larrabee was sweet. The trail we walked, with the dogs, was very dense with moss covered trees and ferns. We walked to the boat launch so Trevor can say he’s been from East Coast to West. Freighters could be seen off in the distance as the tide ebbed with thick seaweed. My lungs were soaking in the fresh smells and my eyes taking in the trees. Why do I love trees so much? Must have been a monkey or sloth in a past life or something.

The next day was Canada.

As of tonite, we are just south of Vanderhoof, B.C. at Dave’s RV Land. We ended up meeting a very sweet couple. Andy and Ollie, young at heart, adventurous, and loving grandparents, they are on their way to Alaska by ferry. We told them we’re on our way too but by house-on-a-wagon. It turns out they just so happen to be stopping into North Pole to take a picture of the Santa Claus House for their grand kids to see. This couldn’t be any more of a bigger sign that we’re almost there ourselves! Ollie broke out her B.C. maps and showed us places that will have gas stations along the way. They reminisced about their tour of America some time ago from Florida and explained how they’re taking a six week vacation to tour Alaska staying in hostels and tent camping. Sounds like us soon! Well, guess we’ll have to stay in one place or a job long enough to retire so we can do these things. NAH!!!haha! Andy's advice to us was to "speak to as many travellers as you can. Someone will have important information you'll need; and you'll always make a friend." He's right.

Are you tired of reading all this yet? You can stop at anytime, I know this stuff gets boring, especially with no pictures!!

After Dave's RV we drove another 8 or so hours up Canada HWY 37 just south of Dease Lake to Kinaskan Lake Provincial Park. We've been listening to the book "The Life of Pi"..We highly recommend listening to the audio if you know you are taking a long road trip. Let's just say, I'll always think of this story whenever we're in boat..anywho..Kinaskan Lake is one of those places I wouldn't mind taking a week to get back for a longer visit. Our second night with a fire. The park lady, Margaret, gave us a bin of extra dry firewood and a hatchet, and we were able to get our pyro fix for the night. Just love poking a good fire! Ha! Remember the drought in the South? Our last campfire was at Big Biloxi CG.. So, Thanks Canada! Our next long haul took us through Nugget City(nearly abandoned it seems, so lets say Junction instead) where we filled up and crossed the border to Yukon Territory and were finally on Alaska HWY 1! What a bumpy ride! At this point we noticed the sign to Fairbanks: 1010(kilometers) which breaks down to 627 miles..doesn't seem so far now, right?

Well... we ended up driving just short of Whitehorse along Teslin Lake, a 92 mile lake frequented by gold seekers looking to get to Dawson City during the late 1800's. We stopped at Johnson's Crossing Campground. We noticed how our dogs love to hide in whatever near by tall grass or weeds are available. Maverick just tries to be invisible to the mosquitoes. We stopped in Whitehorse the next day. The town is bigger than what I remember. Another place I would love us to revisit. Topping off, we're back on the road again til Moon Lake. This last leg of the trip was hella crazy. Don't believe anyone who says they had a smooth ride from Whitehorse to Beaver Creek! The bumpiest highway ever with road construction, danger trees(we waited 20 or so minutes with a very bored road worker holding the stop sign between his feet as he leaned on his car waiting for the go ahead; the tree was bent over enough that it appeared to pose a danger of falling onto the gravel hwy..didn't seem close enough, but guess people need work to do), and some areas still gravel; we wondered how all those busRV's were going to make it. The road just rises from the constant freezing and thawing. Going 40 felt treacherous at times. So again, hope those busRV's got to where they needed to be. Also, for a while, it felt as though we were the only people going into Alaska. Everyone seemed to be leaving. More room for us, we thought.

After clocking in 6,311 miles(or 10,156.569 km), we ended up seeing countless cows & deer, a newt, 2 large slugs, 5 black bears, a caribou(or maybe a reindeer), some brave chipmunks..and one not-so-lucky chipmunk followed by the driver laughing so hard because she ran it over, and a horse in a small lake village. The water was so damn clear and the horse came right up to us(we slowed down as it moseyed on up the road). A semi finally tooted his horn to hurry him out of the way. Video of that to come later. Our first moose(this link just for fun)sighting was here in Alaska. Just yesterday afternoon, we saw our second moose in my parents yard. A mother moose Lucy would love to chase..NO WAY DOG! Moose are soooo damn big, it's crazy!

Today(July 31st), we just got back from Quartz Lake. This is my dad's favorite lake to fish. My dad and our friend Mel ended up with 4 trout all together. The last trout was Mel's at 18in length & 4lbs. And of course, she's going to have Trevor cook it up for us in a couple of days. YUM! We also acquired some salmon from friends. My friend Nick came back from dipnetting for salmon in Chitna a couple of days ago. He invited us over for a super delicious dinner of fresh salmon cooked with dill, lemon and butter(one w/Cajun spice), with homemade potato chips, salad and garlic bread. Then our neighbor across the street came back from the same place, today, and will be giving my dad some of his salmon catch as well. Once I figure out shipping fish, I'll be contacting any takers. I have a few in mind already who are interested.

We will keep this blog and post our latest adventures as much as possible. We're expecting our adventures to be many. If you loved following us on our crazy-ass road trip, please continue to do so for our future trips. The journey never ends! Live! We want to say thank you to family and friends who offered their time and space to us. We are so grateful for your love and support from past, present and future. We love you and look forward to speaking with you, emailing, facebooking, and/or seeing your sweet faces again soon. Love Always.


~m & T

Friday, July 22, 2011

B.C., Canada

We've made it to Canada! Customs was a breeze. We took the Abbottsford entrance into Canada near Sumas, Washington. They didn't even need our passport, or even searched our camper. Guess we just looked honest enough to let pass. We actually had to fork over our little tiny thing of mace, to which the entry guard replied "But they'll let you buy an extinguisher sized can of bear mace in Canada."....Eh? We are now camped out for the night at Clinton Pine Campgrounds in British Columbia. I'm sitting at the front office using their limited wireless. No pictures to post of Portland. :( We downloaded them from Lauren's camera, but must have missed something. Oh well..We'll try and get Portland posted soon. For now you'll have to use your imagination, or click on a couple of links I've provided.

Portland was amazing. With plenty of places to eat, friends and plenty of walking, Lauren(my dear friend and hostess) took us on a grand tour of North East Portland. We ate at Tasty and Son's our first night. Very decadent and chic, we shared plates to which our palates were more than satisfied. We then walked to Ruby Jewels...MMMMM..homemade ice cream. Nathan, Lauren's beau, wanted to share their lavender and honey ice cream was soooooo good! The dogs enjoyed being roommates for a short bit with Patti. A lovey and very licky Boston Terrier, she loooooved Trevor! He grew a beard that she loooved to try and cuddle to! We hope she's not too sad we're gone! Love you Patti!

Living close to Mississippi Ave, Lauren and her roommates have access to great fun for that area. Wednesday, Trevor and I walked a few blocks to get some laundry done and we ate at a food court filled with over a dozen food service carts. Perfect!!! These type of courts are called food pods, and Portland is chalk-full of them. So ready to start that egg-roll cart! Later, We were treated to Forest Park, Lauren's favorite hang-out spot. We didn't travel too far up the trails, but it's said the park has over 60 miles worth of trails! Walk, run, or bike your heart out. Our friend Travis came with us as we observed slugs the size of your thumb and caught little newts from the creek. Not even five minutes into the trail and we're in a place so serene. Promise to post these pictures soon!

We toured the very beautiful Rose Gardens. Every rose you can ever imagine is there, or just about. It was a perfect place to walk off dinner from the Red Onion(one of the best Thai food places)..Nathan then drove us to Voodoo Donuts. I was sooo full from dinner still, the thought of trying to eat something else, much less a donut, hurt. Portland is just buzzing with openness and creativity. It was certainly an experience we would like to expand on in the future. There is much more to see.

We are enjoying much cooler weather. With the Southern U.S. on a burn ban; it's nice to finally get a fire going. The sign on the front door of this campground reads: Please be BEAR AWARE while here...guess we better go look for that new extinguisher. That's all for now. More than likely going to post again once we cross the Alaskan border. Ciao!


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Where's the dart this time?

The days are starting to run together. Sifting through pictures, it doesn't help my camera's dates are a day off.

We stayed at the James M. Robb State Park in Fruita, CO July 14th. A very developed campground with all the RV amenities. The landscape was still beautiful, but we couldn't take the dogs on any trails, swim in their little lake, AND you had to pay with quarters for the showers! So, we finally used our closet/bathroom shower. To our dismay, we discovered the pipe from the shower to the sewer needs to be replaced. All of our other piping appears to be far. By observing other RVer's we found we can just hook up our water hose directly bypassing the potable tank and still receive good water no more hunching over the spicket to do the dishes! What are we doing?! haha!! I don't think we even camp anymore, we just RV(roll in and plug-in).

After Colorado, we were back in hilly desert country. Utah offered some of the most amazing rock formations I've ever seen. The San Rafael Swell off of I-70/UT50, must be seen in person. Hoping the pictures here will offer some sort of size reference. They're just enormous!
This picture doesn't even do these giants any justice. The history panel said at some point before highway construction, men could touch each wall with arms outstretched.

We were looking to stay in a state park an hour past Salina, UT, but the Butch Cassidy Campground in Salina was calling our name. Can't beat little places like this off the highway. They had a great open area for us to let the dogs stretch and sniff. Maverick is fond of chasing after grasshoppers. The campground offered fresh eggs for sale from the chickens roaming free, a peacock, and yes, lots and lots of bunnies for Lucy to drool over(from a distance).

Thanks to my Uncle Eric, we were able to bunker down for the night at his place in McGill, NV for Saturday night. The dogs never looked so happy to see such a well kept yard. They rolled around in his grass for almost an hour, letting us know they're not going back on the road! Uncle E. told us my Grandpa Szendrey use to say, "Did you know that HWY 50 is the loneliest road?" We can attest to that statement. With over 80 miles between Delta, UT and the Nevada border, HWY 50 did seem very lonely. We did see our first mirage passing by Sevier Lake; very dry..or is it?
Might be able to see the mirage of Sevier Lake. It was really weird seeing nothing in the distance because of the heat waves, and then the mountains started appearing..whew!

Nevada/Utah border..and of course, no state bumper stickers. What the hell, man?

My uncle had to work graveyard shift at the state prison in Ely, so he dropped us off at none other than: Marie's Cafe before getting ready. The burgers we ate were huge and tasty. They even have a 4 (1/3rd) patties called the Krazy Burger for $17. No thank you!
I did do the cheesy thing and made T take a picture..heh heh.

We felt like outsiders as we walked into the McGill Club for an after dinner shot of Silver Tequila. And, of course, we were laughed at by the bar tender for telling him so. Whatever, "inbred, ignorant, McGillbillies!" as my Uncle Eric says. I love him! The band playing consisted of three toothless McGill rock stars jamming Johnny Cash, and a lady playing the spoons!! Very off beat and entertaining! Saturday night fever!

Eric has flowers growing all around his property from a previous owner. Just show casing this lovely what-looks-like-some-sort-of-hibiscus flower. Feel free to correct me.
pooped pup
Dawn on July 17 McGill, NV
Oh, and we couldn't leave NV without doing a little gambling at the Hotel Nevada and Gambling Hall. Trevor has better luck than I at these things. Lovin' the shirt Eric :D

On the road again, this time up to Idaho. We decided a few days ago to make a separate trip to the Grand Tetons later. Twin Falls on through Boise offered us more astounding scenery. Rolling hills, winding rivers, green pastures(full of potatoes maybe? and corn!), and wind turbines. Idaho is on our checklist of beautiful places to visit. This time we stayed at another RV park off the interstate at Mountain View RV in Boise. Boise's noisy, but it was only for the night. Not much of a mountain view either.
View from atop the camper at Mountain View RV Park.

Still on top of the camper. Time for a cool refreshing adult beverage! It was almost 100 degrees in Boise!

We made it to Portland yesterday evening. More on that later! Peace!~m

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Tuesday we arrived in Aztec, NM to stay with my cousin Tony and his family. Great people. We realized how long it had been since our North Pole days; about 15 years! You know you have a lasting relationship with others when it seems like it's been only a day or week since your last visit. Those years-gone-by were muted by the amount of time and love given to help make this journey more memorable. Meeting new cousins and seeing how big this family has grown has reminded me of how important it is to keep in touch. Don't let the days go by.

Marie and Maria

Tony and Eleanor suggested we take the scenic route through Durango up through Silverton and Ouray. South West Colorado looks great on the map. Flat and colorful with pretty red words! Ha! We took their advice and headed up HWY 550. Little did we know what we were in for. Hearing Eleanor describe the drive, you can only envision and anticipate how things will turn out. The mountains came out to play in no time, and we braced ourselves as the truck crawled up and down steep hills. Trevor held his composure during the tight curves and passing 18 wheelers. There may be permanent hand prints on the "Oh Shit!" bar from by vice grip as I watched the road's painted line disappear a couple of times. Different areas of the highway became narrow and had some nice cliffs overlooking the towns and rivers. This was certainly a more memorable experience than we anticipated. The drive was magnificent. To be sure, this is only a taste of what's to come!

Stopped to collect ourselves.

Silverton, CO

Looks like an area where people use to pan for gold

Behind Trevor is a massive valley

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

New Mexico

Woke up this morning to the sites of Abiquiu Lake, northwest of Santa Fe, New Mexico. This is actually the product of the damming of the Rio Chama by the US Army Corps of Engineers.  The campground sits on the north east side of the lake overlooking the lake with an incredible view of the mountains in the background.  It is such a contrast to Carlsbad and the flat southern  areas of the state.  As we drove through Santa Fe, we encounter our first real rain since Georgia.  The temperature is in the mid to upper 60's at night and probably somewhere in the 70's during the day.  Heading to Aztec New Mexico to visit with cousins of Marie and do some much need laundry and camper repairs.

HWY 285N

Rider's on the storm

Destination Abiquiu Dam

the reason for the fences

big ass grill station

camper & scenery

70+ feet down from here!

hangin out!

Abiquiu Morning

Marie doing her yoga

Recent Visits 

July 6th Helotes, TX
After Maxwell. Marie's cousin Ruby and her husband Bruce opened their home to us for the night. We enjoyed a very delicious salmon dinner Ruby had in a slow cooker all afternoon. They shared past camping experiences and suggested we stay in Junction for our next camp stop. Ruby also shared the family tree she has been working on for the last few years. So much history! It was great to see pictures of ancestors and learn where Marie's family came from.

July 7th-8th
We took Ruby and Bruce's advice and stayed at the South Llano River State Park outside of Junction, TX. The first thing we see once we enter the campgrounds are a small herd of deer. The deer hang out just outside the campsites.The state park also has one of the largest turkey roost for the Rio Grande Turkeys. This campground is full of wildlife. With the burn ban still in effect, we were not deterred as we rented tubes to float down the river. No college kids this time! and the dogs actually wanted to get in the river too.

July 9th
Saturday was spent at Balmorhea Lake in west Texas. The effects of the drought were evident as the lake is lower than it's ever been. We met Mickey and his family, who were out fishing the lake all day for cat fish. We invited them over for a spaghetti dinner as they gave us a little history about the lake and what they do. Mickey works with his Uncle Trinney on oil rigs around the area. Mickey's mother, Juanita, asked us if we had visited the springs then told us the springs were dry. We did drive down the road to check them out, but turned around to avoid the large crowd that was already there to camp at the lake instead. Despite the harsh wind, we still were able to enjoy the sunset.

On the way to Balmorhea..good to see alternative energy

Mickey's Uncle Trinny offering us their catfish..the dogs seem interested.

Good Morning!

A goose giving sunday service to the vultures.

West Texas..stark contrast to the wind turbines.

July 10th
After driving through the desert of west Texas we made it to Brantley Lake in New Mexico. Still windy in this part of the country. We visited Carslbad Caverns and took the self-walking tour of The Big Room.


Going through Roswell. Some fans with foil caps touring the town.

"I'm an alien, you're an alien..."

July 11th
Northern New Mexico more than made up for the dry flatness of the previous areas we camped. It's amazing out here!